Every year up to 23,800 adults and 4,830 children test positive for cancerous brain and spinal cord tumors. Brain tumors take a majority share in these numbers, making it a common case in any cancer treatment center.
There are many advanced cancer treatment options today, each with its fair share of side effects. But as research progresses, better treatments are emerging.
One such treatment option is the proton radiation therapy. Rather than using x-rays, this method of radiation therapy makes use of protons.
A proton refers to a positively charged particle that gets through the skin using an externally used machine. At high energy, protons effectively kill cancer cells. They can work alone or alongside surgery, immunotherapy, x-ray radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.
A synchrotron machine speeds up the painless delivery of the protons through the skin. They travel to the desired depth of the body at a targeted location. The protons then destroy the cancerous cells in the tumor using a specified radiation dose.
Let’s look at the major reasons why proton therapy for brain cancer is the preferred treatment method in any cancer treatment center.
1. It Enables a Cancer Treatment Center to Provide Precise Treatment
A significant distinction of proton beam radiation from other types of radiation is in its precision. They focus on the affected tissues without interfering with the surrounding healthy tissues.
Before the radiation session, the patient receives a magnetic resonance imaging scan. It tells the exact location that requires the radiation therapy. The specialist will also mark the area with the healthy tissues so that no interference occurs.
For accurate delivery of the protons, the patient will need to take the same position during treatment as they were in during the scan. It ensures that the protons hit the targeted tumor.
Most proton therapy centers will use a gantry. It is a machine that rotates around the patient, ensuring that the treatment gets to the tumor from the best angles.
This accuracy is essential when handling tumors in the brain or spinal cord. It will ensure that no injury occurs in the healthy brain cells or any part of the spinal cord. It minimizes the risk of developing neurological deficits and secondary tumors.
2. It Is an Excellent Option for Delicate Locations and Patients
The protons are easy to control. Depending on the energy given by the cyclotron, the beam will travel at a very high speed through the body, depositing a minimal dose on its way. When stopped at the precise depth, it delivers the maximum dose in what is known as the Bragg peak.
The Bragg peak occurs in the tumor site. After the burst of energy, it stops to irradiate and will exit the body with little damage.
It makes it an excellent choice of treatment for children whose brains are still developing. The therapy will have less toxicity. Unlike other forms of radiation, it improves the quality of life during and after treatment.
Physicians in a cancer treatment center will prefer using proton therapy to treat areas closer to susceptible structures such as the optic nerve.
3. It Can Treat Recurrent Brain Tumors
Malignant tumors are notorious for spreading to the surrounding healthy brain tissue. It results in recurrent brain tumors. Continuous exposure to radiation to treat the recurrent tumors can cause severe neurological damage.
But with the little toxicity caused by proton beam radiation, repeated treatment of the tumors poses a low risk. A patient can get another proton treatment if need be.
Choose a facility with proton cancer treatment
To sum up, proton cancer treatment is an effective and non-invasive cancer treatment solution.
Its preciseness makes it suitable for treating cancerous tumors in delicate areas. Such locations include the brain and spinal cord, especially in children.
Proton radiation therapy will ensure that the patient experiences minimum toxicity from the radiation session. It does not cause harm to the surrounding tissues and will be suitable for treating recurrent tumors.
Whether you are seeking treatment for yourself or a loved one, enquire if the cancer treatment center offers proton radiation therapy.